Bentonville, Ark. (February 12, 2005) -- In celebration of Black History Month 2005, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is sponsoring a multi-dimensional educational program honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, African Americans who served in the segregated units of the American military from 1866 to 1951. The program heralds under-recognized heroes of African-American history who have contributed in profound and lasting ways to American life.

“At Wal-Mart, we celebrate diversity 365 days a year,” said Charlyn Jarrells Porter, chief diversity officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “This month, we are proud to sponsor a program that brings new information about, and bestows honor upon, the African-American servicemen who willingly gave so much at a time when they received so little in return.”

The program’s centerpiece is a documentary: The Invisible Men of Honor: The Legend of the Buffalo Soldiers. The film tells the story of the important yet unheralded role these all-black regiments played in the American expansion into the West as well as their valiant service in numerous wars and conflicts including World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict.  Narrated by actor Tim Reid, the story of the Buffalo Soldiers is enhanced with firsthand accounts of the experiences and observations of 20th century veterans.

Capt. Paul Matthews, founder and curator of the National Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston, Texas, which contributed substantially to development of the program, feels “This program will help elevate Buffalo Soldiers to the place of honor they deserve in American history. It is a recognition that is long overdue and we’re glad Wal-Mart stepped to the forefront in making it possible.”

The documentary will have its network debut on TV One Thursday February 17th at 8 p.m. (EST). It will air subsequently in May and November in honor of Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day and will also be available on-demand.

The documentary is being supported by a website (www.buffalosoldierstribute.com) and study guide. The website features an on-line registry and links that allow visitors to easily access information helpful to genealogical research.

The study guide is designed for use by students in grades five through 12.  Dr. Regina E. Spellers, who developed the study guide for Wal-Mart, holds a doctorate in intercultural and organizational communication and has developed curriculum materials, served on advisory boards, and consulted with charter elementary schools and nonprofit organizations nationwide. 

Steve Clay, a noted African-American artist who frequently depicts African and Native American themes in his work, was commissioned to create poster art honoring the men.  A frameable reproduction of the poster appears in the February issue of American Legacy magazine.  Website visitors can also order copies of the poster, which will be available for free while quantities last.

“Our goal was to help develop a comprehensive program that celebrates African-American history and the men and women who made that history by honoring their contributions in a way that is meaningful to contemporary society,” said Bob Connolly, executive vice president marketing and consumer communications, Wal-Mart Stores Division.  “We are proud to make this investment in the telling of such a significant story.”

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States.  Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.  The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.  More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.